In every culture, children invent games, and many of these games have remarkable similarities between cultures. Children around the world love chasing, drawing, colliding, imagination and other playful activities, and these shared human interests are nowhere more apparent than on the playground. Learn Chinese children's games both as a way to understand Chinese culture and a source of new inspiration for your own playtime.

Forcing the City Gates

Forcing the City Gates is a Chinese game similar to Red Rover. The children divide into two teams and each team forms a line by joining hands. The two lines of children stand facing each other about 10 to 15 feet apart. A child from one team runs at the line of the other team, trying to burst through between hands. If he fails, a child from the team that was just attacked counterattacks. The game goes back and forth until one team breaks through the other.

Cat and Mouse

Cat and Mouse is a traditional Chinese chasing game played with 10 to 30 kids. One child is the cat, the other is the mouse, and the rest of the children form a circle and link hands with the cat outside and the mouse inside. The children in the circle revolve around for a bit, then stop. When they stop, the cat tries to catch the mouse. The mouse can dodge in and out of the circle and the cat has to follow the same path the mouse took. The game continues until the cat catches the mouse. Then the cat becomes the mouse and a new cat is chosen.

Round and Round

Round and Round is like a spinner game, only the kids are the spinner. To begin, the kids draw a circle of chalk on the ground and divide the circle into 12 numbered sections. The kids then divide into three groups, each with a leader. The leader of each group chooses a member of his team and blindfolds him. The first team leader leads his blindfolded player into the circle and spins him around four times. The player can then take four steps in any direction. He gets the score of whatever section he lands on. The other two teams then take their turns. The team with the highest score wins.